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Sharp Health News

Sharp HospiceCare celebrates 25 years

Dec. 1, 2017

Sharp HospiceCare celebrates 25 years

(L to R) Some of Sharp HospiceCare’s longtime employees: Suzi Johnson, Mary Dressel, Pat Salmon, Maria Bergstrom and Sharon Blake.

Sharp HospiceCare’s 25-year journey began in 1992, when Grossmont Home Health was also certified as Hospice of Grossmont Hospital. In 2001, the organization became Sharp HospiceCare.

Today, Sharp HospiceCare is one of the leading hospice organizations in San Diego, dedicated to providing comprehensive care and compassionate support for families and patients facing a life-limiting illness.

“We recognized the need to improve the way in which people with a life-limiting illness were cared for,” says Suzi Johnson, vice president of Sharp HospiceCare, who has been with the organization since its inception. “Two of us in leadership had a personal experience with a loved one dying at a young age without the option of hospice, and we wanted to make that different for others facing a similar situation.”

She credits their longevity to dedicated staff and volunteers with a focus on bringing comfort to each day for those nearing the end of life.

“Sharp HospiceCare honors the dignity of the whole person, empowering patients to live as fully and comfortably as possible,” says Johnson. “In addition to expert pain and symptom management, we offer an array of services, such as spiritual care and bereavement support, which support not only patients, but also their families and caregivers.”

Milestones in innovation
One of Sharp HospiceCare’s proudest achievements is the creation of its hospice homes — the first in San Diego County. The homes are designed for patients who need round-the-clock medical care. Located in charming neighborhoods in East County, Central San Diego and South Bay, they feature the comforts of home — cozy kitchens, inviting living rooms, tranquil outdoor gardens — where patients can feel comfortable and at ease, and families can spend time with their loved ones.

For several years, Bill Navrides has conducted tours of the Sharp hospice homes for donors and prospective donors as director of development for Grossmont Hospital Foundation. When his 90-year-old mother-in-law passed away earlier this year, he experienced that comfort and ease firsthand.

“I recall the care team bringing her into the bedroom,” he says. “I saw how peaceful and calm she was, which was far different than the last week at the hospital. My family and I truly got to experience what I have been sharing with colleagues for years — the difference of having the support of caring, knowledgeable people in a setting where my mother-in-law and family felt comfortable.”

Another pioneering program is Sharp HealthCare’s Transitions, a home-based palliative care consultation service focusing on patients with heart failure, dementia, late-stage cancer and other advanced chronic illnesses.

The Transitions program not only helps families and caregivers manage a loved one’s advanced illness at home, it is also nationally recognized as an innovative leader in redefining how people living with a serious chronic illness can be cared for safely in their own homes.

According to a nationally published study, the Transitions program improves the patient-family experience, improves understanding of disease progression, helps clarify goals of care, and creates an improved end-of-life experience.

“Creating these new programs has prepared us to think about how we care for the aging over a period of time,” says Johnson. “And, in the long run, that preparation better prepares patients and families for late-life and end-of-life care.”

Learn more about Sharp HospiceCare online or by calling 619-667-1900 or 1-800-681-9188.

For the news media: To talk with Suzi Johnson about Sharp HospiceCare for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at erica.carlson@sharp.com.

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